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Something's eating my kowhai

Well camouflaged caterpillars are eating all the leaves off young kowhai trees. Should these be removed if possible? I have some vague memory of hearing something good about these caterpillars!


The caterpillars of a number of different moth species will eat the leaves of kowhai trees. Some of these are native, some are not, but it is most likely to be the native kowhai moth. Usually this does not completely defoliate a tree, and as long as the tree is otherwise healthy, you can safely leave the caterpillars alone and the tree will recover.

However, if the tree is heavily infested, you may wish to try an insecticide spray. If you live in or near west Auckland, you would be wise to contact MAF, as kowhai is a host species of the painted apple moth.

UnitecAdvice by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor of Resource Management.

Reproduced with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous website of  TVNZ News

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH

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Last updated: June 27, 2005